Giants Make Moves Early In Free Agency


On Tuesday the NFL free agency period got off to a roaring start that left everyone’s heads spinning. Even before the 4:00 P.M. Eastern Time official start time, rumors and reports of trades and signings had engulfed the sports world. The New York Giants made a few subtle signings on day one of the unofficial start to the NFL season.

The Giants started off today by making their biggest signing by bringing in former New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen. Vereen. The 26 year old signed a three-year, $12 million contract with $5 million guaranteed according to Ralph Vacchiano of the NY Daily News.

Vereen joins Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Chris Ogbonnaya, who was re-signed today, in the Giant’s running back committee.

Vereen will be looked upon mostly on third downs to pick up blitzes and catch passes out of the backfield to pick up crucial first downs, a role he did well in New England. This is a solid pickup for the Giants because Vereen is the versatile running back the team has been lacking since the departure of Ahmad Bradshaw. This move will add another dimension to the Giants’ offense.

Then the Giants turned their attention to their special teams, signing former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dwayne Harris to a five-year, $17 million deal with $7 million guaranteed according to Vacchiano.

Nov 23, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) returns punt against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

The price was a little high for a player who will be mostly returning punts, but it ensures that Odell Beckham Jr. will not be subjected to a potential injury by returning punts. A player like Beckham  Jr. is too valuable to be exposed to a potential significant injury and this move takes care of that.

Also signed to the special teams unit was former Patriots linebacker Johnathan Casillas at the price of a three-year $10.5 million deal according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

Again, it’s a bit pricey for a special teams player, but Casillas does excel in his role in coverage and will help a Giants special teams that has been a bit of a weak spot for years.

The Giants weren’t done there, the team also brought on an intriguing in former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker J.T. Thomas. Thomas was signed to a three-year, $12 million dollar deal with $4.5 million guaranteed according to Vacchiano.

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Thomas has experience playing middle and strong side linebacker and has starting potential, which could mean the end for Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger, two players who never developed into much more than backup linebackers for the Giants.

Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end

J.J. Watt

(99) and Cincinnati Bengals tackle

Marshall Newhouse

(74) during the game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse was also signed by the Giants to a two-year, $3.25 million deal according to Vacchiano .

Newhouse has experience as a starter during his time with the Green Bay Packers but mainly served as a backup with the Bengals and will probably fill the same role with the Giants.

Current Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason re-worked his contract to remain with the team for 2015, reducing his salary from $3.6 million to $1.9 million which lowers his 2015 salary cap hit from $7.4 million to $4.15 million also according to Vacchiano .

The Giants appear to be losing safety Antrel Rolle to the Chicago Bears but nothing has been made official as of yet. Cornerback Prince Amukamara‘s $6.898 million salary for 2015 was officially guaranteed as of today as well according to Vacchiano.

Overall it was a fairly subtle but busy start to free agency for the Giants with their main focus for today’s signings being roster depth. The moves made today may be a bit pricey, but it brings in fresh, new talent to fill the Giants roster so Jerry Reese can focus on filling the team’s needs in the upcoming NFL Draft.

It is yet to be seen whether or not the Giants are done with their free agent signings and it will be interesting to see how the next few days play out as Big Blue looks to mold itself into a championship contender once again.

According to Vacchiano, it appears the Giants will still have roughly over $8 million dollars in salary cap space remaining after today’s moves. On a side note, the Giants waived offensive tackle Rogers Gaines, who spent the 2014 season on injured reserve.